An Ancient Roman oil lamp finely moulded from terracotta, featuring a short, volutes canal nozzle and a decorated discus with one filling hole. The discus holds the moulded depiction of a male figure, a bestiarius, being attacked by two animals, possibly a scene referred to the venationes games in the Roman arenas. This lamp belongs to the Loeschcke type IV, which is characterised by rounded nozzle flanked by volute-spines, round shoulders and an absence of handle.
This type of lamps, made from a mould, was produced only from the Late Augustan (early 1st century AD) to the Early Nerva-Antonine dynasty (first third of the second century AD). Across the Roman Empire, a lamp was originally called a ‘lychnus’, from the Greek ‘λυχνος’, with the oldest Roman lamps dating back to the third century BC. During the Roman Empire, the variation in decoration increased. Common decorative themes depicted on the discus included entertainment scenes, popular myths, deities, and even animals. Combat scenes between animals and humans, were a popular decorative motif, echoing real life combats, known as venationes, between bestiarii, Romans beast-fighters, and wild animals.
Date: Circa 1st-2nd century AD